Upon receiving a copy of Drawstick I was immediately impressed by the standard of both the packaging and documentation. Unfortunately this cannot always be relied upon as a good guide to the standard of the software itself. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when the program lived up to the initial promise of the packing.
BBC Soft must be congratulated for their user-friendliness, the tape contained two versions of the program; one for a tape-based system and one for discs. They even provided a loader program which loaded the appropriate programs and then saved them to disc without any intervention by the user.
Drawstick, as its name suggests, is an on-screen drawing package designed for use with a fully proportional joystick, though it can still be used with the keyboard.
As all drawing is performed on a Mode 1 screen the user is limited to one paper and three ink colours. These colours can be selected from a palette of eight at any time during the drawing process.
A grid at the bottom of the screen displays all of the drawing options available. The required option can be selected by simply placing the cursor over the correct box and pressing either the space bar or fire button.
Drawing options include Rectangle, Circle or Arc, each of which can be drawn in outline or filled. Line drawing can be of four types, Rubberbanding, Freehand and Straight or Dotted line between two points. The latter two lines use automatic correction of horizontal or vertical lines. Should a line be drawn which is almost vertical, the computer will calculate the correct coordinates and draw the line exactly vertical. This facility makes technical drawing a dream using this package.
Other facilities aimed at the technical user are the provision of dotted "centre lines" and also Dimension lines. Dimension lines are the ones with an arrow at either end used to indicate the dimensions of an object - having drawn the line, the user is prompted for a value to be displayed on the line. Unfortunately these last two facilities are only available on the disc version.
Complete or selected areas of the design can be stored on tape or disc. When using the disc version it is possible to reload a partial screen and place it at any position on the screen, with the tape version the design is always reloaded at its original coordinates.
Drawstick is a thoroughly professional package capable of producing some highly detailed designs even in the hands of a novice.